The nurse is caring for a client diagnosed with C. diff. The client has soiled the bed and the nurse is preparing to change it. Which action by the nurse is correct in regard to handling soiled linens that have been exposed to C. diff?

  • throw the linens in the trash can in the soiled utility room
  • leave the dirty linens in a bag in the client’s room until he is discharged
  • place the items in a red biohazard bag and place them in the soiled utility room
  • place the soiled linen in a regular dirty linen bag and place in the soiled utility room
Number 3 is correct.
C. diff is highly contagious, and soiled linens require special handling. The nurse should bag all linens in a red biohazard bag and place in the designated area for biohazard bags in the soiled utility area. Linens do not need to be thrown in the trash can, as the laundry process requires very hot water and specific detergents to kill microorganisms for hospital settings. Dirty linens should never be left in the client’s room, as this increases the risk of contamination to health care givers in the client’s room. The linens should never be placed in with regular dirty linen.